Using Twitter to Counteract Hype, Part 2 – Hashtags of the Week (HOTW): (Week of August 11, 2014)

CDC Combats Ebola Hype with Twitter Chat August 8, 2014

Last week, I showed you some of the ways in which the healthcare community is using Twitter to combat hype and misinformation about Ebola. This week there is a more specific example of the same idea — how the Centers for Disease Control scheduled a Twitter chat to answer questions in public for clinicians and healthcare providers about the Ebola outbreak in Africa.

There are some surprises in this collection. Some surprising questions, some surprising answers, and sometimes the surprise is in who is doing the answering. The conversation around bleach is especially interesting. Also, notice who is retweeting what the CDC says. This is a small sampling, but many many people passing along the information, and this is important for spreading the word.


Hispanic women successfully navigate computer-based bilingual breastfeeding education program

From the AHRQ Electronic Newsletter (13 December 2013):

Research supported by AHRQ evaluated the usability of a computerized learning program to provide breastfeeding education to Hispanic women residing in rural areas. “An interactive, bilingual touch-screen program to promote breastfeeding among Hispanic rural women: usability study” was published online on November 7 by the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Research Protocols. According to the study and journal abstract, usability evaluation participants were asked to complete a set of tasks while explaining out loud what they were thinking. They also answered questions about their experience with the program. Participants were able to complete the assigned tasks without help and reported a positive experience, according to the study.

New issue of Health Communication Science Digest

From the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC):

The November issue of Health Communication Science Digest (HCSD or Digest) is now available at

This month in the Digest there are several papers reporting new strategies and approaches for public health communication messaging (Appel & Mara; Chung & Slater; Gollust et al.; McKay-Nesbitt et al.; Miller-Day & Hecht; O’Malley & Latimer-Cheung) while others examine audience segmentation and targeting (Gerend et al; Greene; Krieger et al). Aspects of both traditional (Kuiper et al; Nabi & Thomas; Tucker et al) and new media (Head et al; Knobloch-Westerwich et al; Little et al; Phua; Rutsaert et al) in public health communication are reported in several studies. Health literacy considerations are highlighted in several studies (Bailey et al; Lincoln et al; Mackert et al; Rodríguez et al; Wickline & Sellnow).

Health Literate Care Model

From the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ):

HealthLiterateCareModelIn 2012, Health Affairs published an article proposing a Health Literate Care Model that weaves health literacy strategies into the widely adopted Care Model (formerly known as the Chronic Care Model). The article describes how health care organizations can infuse health literacy into all aspects of planning and operations, including self-management support, delivery system design, shared decision-making support, clinical information systems to track and plan patient care, and helping patients access community resources. The article is by HHS Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, AHRQ researcher Cindy Brach, Linda Harris from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, and Michael Parchman who is the Director of the McColl Center for Health Care Innovation.

Now a graphic of the Health Literate Care Model has been developed. Viewers familiar with the Care Model will recognize the health system elements that lead to productive interactions between health care teams and patients and their families. New is set of health literacy strategies that mediate those health system elements to ensure that interactions are not only productive, but are also health literate.

Access the graphic and the article here.

Improving health, health systems, and health policy around the world

New from the National Academies Press:

The roots of health literacy can be traced back to the national literacy movement in India under Gandhi and to aid groups working in Africa to promote education and health. The term health literacy was first used in 1974 and described as “health education meeting minimal standards for all school grade levels”. From that first use the definition of health literacy evolved during the next 30 years with official definitions promulgated by government agencies and large programs. Despite differences among these definitions, they all hold in common the idea that health literacy involves the need for people to understand information that helps them maintain good health.

Although the United States produces a majority of the research on health literacy, Europe has strong multinational programs as well as research efforts, and health literacy experts in developing countries have created successful programs implemented on a community level. Given these distinct strengths of efforts worldwide, there are many opportunities for collaboration. International collaboration can harness the United States’ research power, Europe’s multilingual and multinational experience, and developing nations’ community-based programs to create robust programs and research that reach people—not based on language or nationality but on need and value.

Read or download the PDF of the 2013 workshop summary here.

The need to increase patient health literacy

Here is an eye-opening post from Stephen’s Lighthouse about the poor state of health literacy and how doctors can identify patients needing help:

6 signs of limited health literacy

Patients with low health literacy may:

  • Fill in registration forms incompletely or inaccurately.
  • Frequently miss appointments.
  • Fail to follow through with laboratory tests, imaging tests or referrals to consultants.
  • Say they are taking their medication, even though lab tests or physiological parameters do not change in the expected fashion.
  • Say: “I forgot my glasses. I’ll read this when I get home”; “I forgot my glasses. Can you read this to me?”; or “Let me take this home so I can discuss it with my children.”
  • Be unable to name their medications, explain what they are for or tell when they are supposed to take them.

Read the full post here: Health Literacy and Medical Consequences.

THL offers some reliable consumer health resources that can be used to help increase patient health literacy.